A Family Legacy Continued

A Family Legacy Continued


G STREET NEAR 26TH STREET IN THE GROUP OF BLDGS RIGHT ACROSS FROM MCDONALDS. CREWS JUST FINISHED KNOCKING DOWN FLAMES MINUTES AGO. BAKERSFIELD FIREFIGHTERS SAY IT STARTED AS A TRASH FIRE THEN SPREAD. NO ONE WAS HURT. ARSON INVESTIGATORS ON SCENE. ALEX: NEARLY 100 YEARS AGO – HIS GREAT GRANDFATHER STEPPED ONTO THE CAMPUS AT THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT – MADDIE: DURING 1930’S AMERICA – IT WAS HARSH WORLD FOR MEN OF COLOR – AND HE NEVER GRADUATED. TABATHA MILLS JOINS US WITH A FAMILY STORY OF PRIDE – THAT SPANS DECADES. TABATHA: THREE GENERATIONS LATER – JONATHAN PARHAM – WILL ATTEND WEST POINT – WHERE HE HOPES TO FINISH THE LEGACY HIS GREAT GRANDFATHER STARTED. NATS – MUSIC TABATHA: JULY 6TH 1929 – ALONZO PARHAM APPEARED ON NEARLY EVERY NEWS PAPER IN THE UNITED STATES – AS HE ENTERED THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT – MARK PARHAM/GRAND SON: “THIS WAS AT A TIME WHEN IT WAS A RARITY, HE WAS ACTUALLY THE 7TH AFRICAN AMERICAN TO ATTEND WEST POINT” TABATHA: PARHAM WAS ALSO THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO ATTEND THE ACADEMY IN THE 20TH CENTURY. JONATHAN PARHAM/GREAT GRANDSON: “THAT WAS PRETTY SPECIAL AS A KID FROM CHICAGO, AS A BLACK KID FROM CHICAGO GOING THERE,” TABATHA: PARHAM WAS EVENTUALLY DISCHARGED FOR ACADEMIC DEFICIENCIES – MARK PARHAM: “THIS WAS A TIME IN AMERICA OF AN ATTEMPT TO CHANGE WITH INTEGRATING THE SERVICES BUT IT WAS FAR FROM SOMETHING THAT WAS ACCEPTED CULTURALLY,” JONATHAN PARHAM: “WHAT ENDED UP HAPPENING DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING HIS SOCIAL INTERACTIONS, WHICH WERE SLIM TO NONE, THEY OSTRACIZED HIM, BECAUSE IT’S HARD TO CHANGE THE SENTIMENTS OF A NATION IN A MICROCOSM SUCH AS WEST POINT SO THEY TREATED HIM AS HE WOULD BE TREATED IN THE DEEP SOUTH,” TABATHA: HE LEFT WEST POINT WITHOUT GRADUATING – BUT WITH SOMETHING ARUGUABLY MORE IMPORTANT – A LEGACY. 90 YEARS LATER – ALONZO PARHAM’S GREAT- GRANDSON JONATHAN IS PREPARING TO STEP ONTO THE WEST POINT CAMPUS. MARK PARHAM: “MY SON HAS A POSSIBILITY OF FINISHING WHAT MY GRANDFATHER STARTED,” TABATHA: A MEMBER OF THE US NAVAL SEA CADET CORP SINCE THE 4TH GRADE – JONATHAN HAS DEDICATED HIS YOUTH TO CHASING HIS DREAM. JONATHAN PARHAM: “MY INTEREST IN THE MILITARY AND ACTUALLY JOINING IT HAPPENED WHEN BIN LADEN WAS KILLED AND I WAS LIKE WELL THAT’S THE BEST TEAM I’VE EVER SEEN. THEY CRASHED A HELICOPTER AND KEPT GOING. I WANTED TO BE A PART OF A TEAM LIKE THAT,” TABATHA: JONATHAN NEEDED A CONGRESSIONA L NOMINTATION TO ATTEND WEST POINT – JONATHAN PARHAM: “I DID MY INTERVIEW WITH CONGRESSMAN MCCARTHY AND I GOT A NOMINATION TO THE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY AND THE NAVAL ACADEMY, NOT WEST POINT,” TABATHA: HE DIDN’T LET THE BUMP IN THE ROAD STOP HIM – JONATHAN PARHAM: “I DROVE UP TO SAN FRANCISCO ON A FRIDAY TO GET MY NOMINATION PACKET INTO SENATOR HARRIS, AND WHAT HAPPENED THERE, THE GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN,” TABATHA: A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN STILL DIDN’T DETER HIM. WEST POINT, LEARNED OF HIS EFFORTS, AND GRANTED A MILITARY NOMINATION – TO ACCEPT PARHAM INTO THE ACADEMY. ONE OF THE ITEMS HE’LL TAKE AS HE REPORTS – HIS GREAT GRANDFATHER’S SWEATER – FROM HIS TIME AT WEST POINT. JONATHAN PARHAM: “FROM WHAT I SEE, HE LEFT A GREAT LEGACY AND THAT’S WHAT I’M TRYING TO CONTINUE TODAY,” TABATHA: JONATHA PARHAM LEAVES JUNE 29TH TO WEST POINT – BOOT CAMP STARTS JULY 1ST. HE HOPES TO STUDY LAW AND PLANS TO RECEIVE HIS MASTERS AT THE ACADEMY – ALEX: THE TRIP — THE LATEST KERN COUNTY HONOR FLIGHT IS IN OUR NATION’S CAPITOL. WE TOLD YOU YESTERDAY MONRING 55 VIETNAM VETS TRAVELING ON HONOR FLIGHT

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